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BLIND MAN OF SALISBURY CATHEDRAL.
Save that each little voice in turn
Some glorious truth proclaims,
What sages would have died to learn
Now taught by cottage-dames.
And if some tones be false or low,
What are all pray'rs beneath
But cries of babes, that cannot know
Half the deep thoughts they breathe?
In his own words we Christ adore;
But angels, as we speak,
Higher above our meaning soar
Than we o'er children weak.
And yet his words mean more than they,
And yet he owns their praise:
Why should we think he turns away
From infants' simple lays?
The Poor Blind Man of Salisbury Cathedral.
THERE is a poor blind man, who, every day,
In frost or snow, in sunshine or in rain,
Duly as tolls the bell, to the high fane
Explores, with faltering footsteps, his dark way,
To kneel before his Maker, and to hear
The chanted service pealing full and clear.
Ask why, alone, in the same spot he kneels
Through the long year? O! the wide world is cold As dark to him: here he no longer feels
His sad bereavement-Faith and Hope uphold
His heart; he feels not he is poor and blind
Amid th' unpitying tumult of mankind :
His soul is in the choirs above the skies,
And songs, far off, of angel-companies.
O happy, if the rich, the vain, the proud,
The pageant actors of the motley crowd,—
Since life is a "poor play'r," our days a span,-
Would learn one lesson from this poor blind man!
THERE is in souls a sympathy with sounds,
And, as the mind is pitch'd, the ear is pleas'd,
With melting airs, or martial, brisk, or grave;
Some chord in unison with what we hear
Is touch'd within us, and the heart replies.
How soft the music of those village-bells,
Falling at intervals upon the ear
In cadence sweet, now dying all away,
Now pealing loud and louder still,
Clear and sonorous as the gale comes on!
With easy force it opens all the cells
Where mem'ry slept! Wherever I have heard
A kindred melody, the scene recurs,
And, with it, all its pleasures and its pains.
Such comprehensive views the spirit takes,
That, in a few short moments, I retrace
(As in a map the voyager his course)
The winding of my way through many years.
Short as in retrospect the journey seems,
It seem'd not always short: the rugged path,
And prospect oft so dreary and forlorn,
Mov'd many a sigh at its disheartening length;
Yet feeling present evils, while the past
Faintly impress the mind, or not at all,
How readily we wish time spent revok❜d,
That we may try the ground again, where once
(Through inexperience, as we now perceive)
We miss'd that happiness we might have found!
Some friend is gone, perhaps his son's best friend,
A father, whose authority, in shew
When most severe, and must'ring all its force,
Was but the graver countenance of love :
Whose favour, like the clouds of spring, might low'r,
And utter now and then an awful voice,
But had a blessing in its darkest frown,
Threat'ning at once and nourishing the plant.
We lov'd, but not enough, the gentle hand
That reared us. At a thoughtless age, allured
By every gilded folly, we renounc'd
His shelt❜ring side, and wistfully forewent
That converse which we now in vain regret.
How gladly would the man recall to life
The boy's neglected sire! A mother too,
That softer friend, perhaps more gladly still
Might he demand them at the gates of death.
Sorrow has, since they went, subdued and tamed
The playful humour; he could now endure,
(Himself grown sober in the vale of tears),
And feel a parent's presence no restraint.
But not to understand a treasure's worth
Till Time has stol'n away the slighted good,
Is cause of half the poverty we feel,
And makes the world the wilderness it is.
The few that pray at all pray oft amiss,
And, seeking grace t' improve the prize they hold,
Would urge a wiser suit than asking more.
But deem not this man useless;
That none, the meanest of created things-
Of forms created the most vile and brute,
The dullest or most noxious-should exist,
Divorc'd from good; a spirit and a pulse of good,
A life and soul, to every mode of being
Inseparably link'd. While thus he creeps
From door to door, the villagers in him
Behold a record which together binds
Past deeds and offices of charity,
Else unremembered, and so keeps alive
The kindly mood in hearts, which lapse of years,
And that half-wisdom, half-experience gives,
Make slow to feel, and, by sure steps, resign
To selfishness and cold oblivious cares.
Among the farms and solitary huts,
Hamlets, and thinly scattered villages,
Where'er the aged beggar takes his rounds,
The mild necessity of use compels
To acts of love; and habit does the work
Of reason, yet prepares that after-joy
Which reason cherishes. And thus the soul,
By that sweet taste of pleasure unpursued,
Doth find herself insensibly disposed
To virtue and true goodness. Some there are
By their good works exalted, lofty minds
And meditative, authors of delight
And happiness, which, to the end of time,
Will live, and spread, and kindle: even such minds,
In childhood, from this solitary being,
Or from like wanderer, haply have received
(A thing more precious far than all that books
Or the solicitudes of love can do!)
That first mild touch of sympathy and love,
In which they found their kindred with a world
Where want and sorrow were. The easy man,
Who sits at his own door, and, like the pear
That overhangs his head from the green wall,
Feeds in the sunshine; the robust and young,
The prosperous and unthinking—they who live